As of June 2020, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory — SDO — has now been watching the Sun non-stop for over a full decade. From its orbit in space around the Earth, SDO has gathered 425 million high-resolution images of the Sun, amassing 20 million gigabytes of data over the past 10 years. This information has enabled countless new discoveries about the workings of our closest star and how it influences the solar system.
With a triad of instruments, SDO captures an image of the Sun every 0.75 seconds. The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument alone captures images every 12 seconds at 10 different wavelengths of light. This 10-year time lapse showcases photos taken at a wavelength of 17.1 nanometers, which is an extreme ultraviolet wavelength that shows the Sun’s outermost atmospheric layer — the corona. Compiling one photo every hour, the movie condenses a decade of the Sun into 61 minutes. The video shows the rise and fall in activity that occurs as part of the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle and notable events, like transiting planets and eruptions. The custom music, titled “Solar Observer,” was composed by musician Lars Leonhard (https://www.lars-leonhard.de/).
While SDO has kept an unblinking eye pointed towards the Sun, there have been a few moments it missed. The dark frames in the video are caused by Earth or the Moon eclipsing SDO as they pass between the spacecraft and the Sun. A longer blackout in 2016 was caused by a temporary issue with the AIA instrument that was successfully resolved after a week. The images where the Sun is off-center were observed when SDO was calibrating its instruments.
SDO and other NASA missions will continue to watch our Sun in the years to come, providing further insights about our place in space and information to keep our astronauts and assets safe.
Some noteworthy events appear briefly in this time lapse. Use the time links below to jump to each event, or follow the links to more detailed views.
A year through the distant eyes of meteorological satellite Himawari-8 – a hypnotic stream of Earth's beauty, fragility and disasters. Animation of satellite irradiation scan measurements, scientific data by meteorological satellite Himawari-8 courtesy of JMA/BoM/NCI.
Timecodes for meteorological/astronomical events (approximate, list to be completed): March 9th 2016 Total Solar Eclipse: 4:44 June 2016 Kamchatka Wildfires: 7:26-8:02 (visible as large amounts of smoke emitted from a point in western Kamchatka, eventually filling a large ocean area) - also: June solstice/polar day north pole July 2016 Super Typhoon Nepartak: 8:37-8:49 Aug 2016 Typhoon Lionrock: 10:43-11:09 Sep 2016 Super Typhoon Meranti: 11:14-11:24 Dec 2016 December solstice/polar day south pole: from 13:25 (add more in the comments, if you like. Or send me a message. I will add appropriate ones to this list.)
Attribution note on the data, which the images in this film are based on: Satellite observations were originally processed by the Bureau of Meteorology from the geostationary meteorological satellite Himawari-8 operated by the Japan Meteorological Agency. Access to this dataset was provided by the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), which is supported by the Australian Government.
NASA Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada guides this tour of the rover's view of the Martian surface.
This panorama showcases "Glen Torridon," a region on the side of Mount Sharp that Curiosity is exploring. The panorama was taken between Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, 2019, when the Curiosity team was out for the Thanksgiving holiday. Since the rover would be sitting still with few other tasks to do while it waited for the team to return and provide its next commands, the rover had a rare chance to image its surroundings several days in a row without moving.
Composed of more than 1,000 images and carefully assembled over the ensuing months, the larger version of this composite contains nearly 1.8 billion pixels of Martian landscape.
Filmed to commemorate the extended edition of ‘Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks’ and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing this documentary by Grant Armour features new interviews with Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno and looks at the making of the ‘Apollo’ album and its 2019 counterpart ‘For All Mankind’.
Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969, carrying Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins on a journey to pull off humankind’s first moon landing. The eight-day journey was made possible by the careful deconstruction of the Saturn V rocket and Apollo spacecraft, and made use of a technique of docking components of the spacecraft in lunar orbit so the astronauts could land on, and then launch from, the lunar surface.
From director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) comes a cinematic event fifty years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.
Soaring to the depths of our universe, gallant spacecraft roam the cosmos, snapping images of celestial wonders. Some spacecraft have instruments capable of capturing radio emissions. When scientists convert these to sound waves, the results are eerie to hear.
In time for Halloween, we've put together a compilation of elusive "sounds" of howling planets and whistling helium that is sure to make your skin crawl.
In our terrestrial view of things, the speed of light seems incredibly fast. But as soon as you view it against the vast distances of the universe, it's unfortunately very slow. This animation illustrates, in realtime, the journey of a photon of light emitted from the surface of the sun and traveling across a portion of the solar system, from a human perspective.
I've taken liberties with certain things like the alignment of planets and asteroids, as well as ignoring the laws of relativity concerning what a photon actually "sees" or how time is experienced at the speed of light, but overall I've kept the size and distances of all the objects as accurate as possible. I also decided to end the animation just past Jupiter as I wanted to keep the running length below an hour.
Design & Animation: Alphonse Swinehart / http://aswinehart.com Music: Steve Reich "Music for 18 Musicians" Performed by: Eighth Blackbird / http://www.eighthblackbird.org
Join us for a fly-through of the International Space Station. Produced by Harmonic exclusively for NASA TV UHD, the footage was shot in Ultra High Definition (4K) using a fisheye lens for extreme focus and depth of field.